USPS SERVICES-MAIL CLASSES
Generally packages and parcels weighing over 13 ounces should be sent using UPS package delivery services. This is the preferred method for shipping this mail. However, there are situations where it may be necessary to ship packages and parcels by US Mail (USPS), such as when the address is to a Post Office Box. If you are unsure of your best option please do not hesitate to contact State Mail Services for assistance.
USPS Mail Classes and Shipping
The Postal Service divides mail into different categories or classes, from first class, priority and priority express mail to standard mail, or presorted mail. Each class has different features, service levels, rates, and presort requirements and requirements on types of items you can send, with each having different costs for mailing.
Read more below about the different USPS mail classes available and when to use them. You can always contact SMS to consult on best options for your project.
First Class Mail
First class mail is for items weighing 13 ounces or less, and it's for small or lightweight items such as postcards, letters, and large envelopes for letters, bills, and advertisements. Mail containing personal information (information specific to the addressee, such as bills or account information, or personal correspondence) must be mailed as first class mail, priority mail, or priority express mail. First class mail receives fast handling and transportation with delivery at one to three days (however, delivery time is not guaranteed).
Priority mail is first class service for mail weighing more than 13 ounces and not exceeding 70 pounds. It is a more costly option, so we at SMS ask that you plan your mailing to take advantage of the lower costs of presorted mail.
Use priority mail when you want one-, two- or three-day business day service for mail. Pricing is based on weight and zone. SMS can provide you with free priority shipping supplies like envelopes, boxes, and stickers. Contact us at StateMail@dgs.virginia.gov or (804) 236-3592 for supplies. If mail contains personal information (details specific to the addressee, such as bills or account information), it must be sent via first class, priority, or priority mail express.
Priority Mail Express (Overnight Mail)
Express Mail is the fastest USPS service for time-sensitive items with guaranteed next-day and second-day delivery nationwide, 365 days a year for items 70 pounds or under. If mail contains personal information (details specific to the addressee, such as bills or account information), it must be sent via first class, priority, or priority mail express.
Express Mail is a costly USPS option, so we recommend you use other options for shipping packages, such as UPS, or plan ahead to mail your smaller letters via presorted or bulk, class or priority mail. You may want to contact State Mail Services if you are unsure the best method.
Express Mail items need to be mailed by a certain time for next day service, so contact SMS to verify the cutoff time. Express Mail is automatically insured up to $100 against loss or damage and the service includes signature proof of delivery upon request and tracking information.
For a mail piece to be considered Express Mail you must send it using appropriate mailing labels or official envelopes. Contact SMS for mailing labels, pre-printed envelopes and flat rate envelopes.
Presorted First Class Mail
You can save substantially on the total cost of First Class mail by using presorted mail. There may an additional one day delay in delivery of this mail.
You do not need to meet any minimum to receive the presort discounted price. No special handling is required your outbound mail can be sent just as you would First Class mail. There is no need to presort, this will be handled by SMS.
|Class of Mail||Speed||Low Cost||Free Forwarding and Return||Extra Services||Incentives|
|Priority Mail||Yes||Some options||Yes||Yes||No|
|Priority Mail Express||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Presorted First Class||No||Yes, preferred||Yes||No||Yes|
USPS Special Services
Learn more about additional USPS special services for your mailing, including certified mail, USPS tracking, signature confirmation, return receipts, restricted delivery, insured mail, registered mail or reply mail.
US Postal Service Information